First-Round Pick is Last to Sign
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Titans crossed a sizable item off their to-do list Monday.
First-round draft pick Isaiah Wilson concluded contract negotiations and agreed to terms on his rookie deal. He and second-round choice Kristian Fulton were the only Titans who did not finalize their contracts prior to the date that rookies and quarterbacks reported for the start of training camp. Fulton signed last week.
Also, Monday, Tennessee re-signed offensive lineman Zac Kerin, one of six veterans waived before they were scheduled to report for training camp.
As the No. 29 overall selection, Wilson’s deal covers four years and includes a team option for a fifth. It is reportedly worth $11.57 million with a $5.974 million signing bonus for the first four years.
The completion of contract negotiations also signals the start of his training camp. The Titans also removed Wilson from the Reserve-COVID 19 list, which means he take part in all team activities.
The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tackle is the heaviest player on the roster by 25 pounds (left guard Rodger Saffold is next at 225) and fits prominently into the team’s plans to the long-term, possibly the short-term as well.
The Titans selected Wilson with the idea that he would battle veteran Dennis Kelly to be this season’s starting right tackle and to eventually take over that role. A two-year starter at Georgia, Pro Football Focus rated him as the eighth most effective right tackle among Power Five teams in 2019.
“I understand that I can improve in a lot of ways,” Wilson said on draft day. “I’m just ready to work and be the best player I can be, and the best is ahead for me for sure I would say, just based off my potential and how much I know I can work to get better, and little things I know about myself.”
His size and his attitude make him the classic NFL right tackle, very much in the mold of former Titans Jon Runyan and David Stewart. He also is a scheme fit for a franchise that was one of two that averaged at least 5.0 yards per rush in 2019, not to mention the fact that the backfield features the reigning NFL rushing champion, Derrick Henry.
“I think he’s definitely going to make us a better football team,” general manager Jon Robinson said shortly after he selected Wilson. “We try to get as many good football players at every position as possible, and he’s a guy that certainly fits that mold, just stylistically the way he plays.”
He is not, however, likely to make many friends among NFL defensive linemen.
“I just want to beat people up,” Wilson said. “I’m definitely looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to getting better at every facet of my game, and I’m ready to work.”